Tennessee General Assembly Bill Would Require Licensing for Online Auctions

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A bill going through the Tennessee General Assembly would, for the first time, require a license for certain types of online auctions, according to a legal expert with the Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee.

Beacon’s Vice President of Legal Affairs told The Tennessee Star Thursday that people who do these auctions have safely conducted their business over the Internet for years with no state interference.

“Everyone has a right to earn a living. There are many Tennessee homegrown businesses that have flourished as online auction businesses. Auctioneering provides a great deal of opportunity, especially in rural communities that oftentimes feel left behind when it comes to economic development,” Boucek said in an emailed statement.

“By requiring a license, we will force these businesses to lay off un-licensed people or move out of state. And there is no public reason why we need to require an auctioneer license simply to sell something online. Tennessee’s own auctioneering task force, the one pushing the law showed that there were very few consumer complaints regarding this type of auction format.”

State Rep. Kevin Vaughan, R-Collierville and State Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, sponsor the bill.

Vaughan and Yager did not immediately return The Star’s request for comment Thursday.

According to language on the Tennessee General Assembly’s website, the bill, if passed into law, would require the Tennessee Auctioneer Commission to post the names of persons with suspended, revoked, or non-renewed licenses. This, because of fraud and other violations.

But Boucek said there are amendments attached to the original bill’s filing that require online auction licensing.

Americans For Prosperity – Tennessee Director Tori Venable said Thursday that Tennessee “is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to overly burdensome regulations.”

“We passed the Right to Earn a Living Act quite a few years back and we’re still working out the details of it, but we shouldn’t be adding additional barriers to entry to anyone in a field, especially if it’s not concerning health or public welfare,” Venable said.

“Any barrier to entry takes a toll on the economy, so that makes it so that people cannot have their own business. It increases costs, and it limits competition.”

According to Beacon’s website, the Right to Earn a Living Act “instructs the legislature’s government operations committees to conduct a thorough review of Tennessee’s occupational licensing laws and offer recommendations for eliminating or scaling back those that are not necessary to protect the health and safety of consumers.”

Legislators passed the law in 2016.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]










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